Cystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the bladder. It is important to note that the information here is meant to help educate readers on a topic of interest, but in no way is it meant to replace the need for patients to visit a healthcare professional or get a proper diagnosis before beginning any treatment program.
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells. When inflammation occurs in any tissue, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection.
What causes cystitis?
While a urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur anywhere in the GU tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, cystitis takes place in the bladder specifically.
The urinary tract is where the body filters fluids. The kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra are all connected and work together in removing waste from your body. Kidneys filter waste from blood and regulate the concentrations of many substances. Tubes called ureters carry urine from kidneys to the bladder, where it’s stored until it exits your body through the urethra.
Because of this connected system, there are many factors that can cause the bladder to become inflamed. However, most often the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection.
Sometimes bladder infections can be painful and chronic. This could lead to serious health issues if not treated properly. Treatment for all types of cystitis vary according to what is causing the inflammation.
Other causes of cystitis
Certain chemicals have been linked to health risks including bladder cancer along with resulting cystitis. This may occur as a result of industrial exposure, air or water pollution, foods, and certain medicines or combinations of medications (even herbal).
Common medications including birth control pills and aspirin can cause inflammation of the bladder. Cystitis may sometimes accompany diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, and many types of injuries. Playing contact sports and receiving a blow to the bladder area may cause inflammation or worse conditions.
Certain medical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy can causes cystitis. Long-term use of a catheter, diaphragm, or improper use of tampons can directly or indirectly cause inflammation.
Symptoms of cystitis
The symptoms of cystitis related to the bladder vary according to the main cause for the inflammation, but almost always include a strong, persistent, frequent urge to urinate. In addition many people report a burning sensation with the urine that leaves the body.
When the inflammation in the bladder and infection becomes worse, some people may see blood in the urine or have cloudy or strong-smelling urine. At this more advanced stage, there is likely to be pain, discomfort, and possibly a fever. Your healthcare provider will take your temperature at your visit and if you show a low-grade fever along with reporting symptoms of urinary discomfort, they will likely test your urine for signs of infection.